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Men of Capital: Scarcity and Economy in Mandate Palestine


Institute For Middle East Studies

Men of Capital examines British-ruled Palestine in the 1930s and 1940s through a focus on economy. In a departure from the expected histories of Palestine, this book illuminates dynamic class constructions that aimed to shape a pan-Arab utopia in terms of free trade, profit accumulations, and private property. In her book, Sherene Seikaly traces how British colonial institutions and policies regulated wartime austerity regimes, mapping the shortage of basic goods—such as the vegetable crisis of 1940—to the broader material disparities among Palestinians and European Jews. Ultimately, she shows that the economic is as central to social management as the political, and that an exclusive focus on national claims and conflicts hides the more complex changes of social life in Palestine.


  • Sherene Seikaly is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.